ECFF is hosted by the magnificent Carletta the Great, whom we encountered in last year's Fringe performing A Showgirl: Deconstructed. Again, that was a reflective addition to the Fringe offering, as we saw Carletta bare her soul (and much of herself) through the course of the show, highlighting the lengths performers go to to please their audiences.
ECFF is structured a little like a TV talk show, with Carletta interviewing three panel members on topics including art, identity, theatre and feminism. The show is unscripted, and the panel members will change from night to night, offering audiences different experiences and insights.
Carletta the great hosts the panel discussion
On the night we attended, we were fortunate to see and hear three strong, open guests, who were more than willing to share their thoughts. As well as some panel discussion, each guest was given the opportunity to individually take to the stage.
Former Darwin resident and graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts Tahlee Fereday talked of the difficulties of social acceptance of her sexuality, and the practical side of trying to find a gay partner. By her own admission, her 'gaydar' is not very strong, so she has resorted to dating apps, or spotting women in Dr Marten boots. A passionate actor, Tahlee still feels the sting of prejudice in applying for roles. Too often, it seems, blue-eyed blondes are still the preferred models for popular roles.
Second up was Alyssa Kitt, world-renowned burlesque performer, who is known for her curvy figure, strawberry blonde locks, and athletic choreography. Alyssa treated the audience to a burlesque performance, before herself 'deconstructing' from showgirl to her 'real self'. It turns out she is a trained historian, journalist and writer, and her intelligence shone through as she talked of her struggles with her body image, with social acceptability and with taking on roles that don't sit comfortably, just to make a living. She asked those in the audience who thought they were beautiful to raise a hand; very few hands were raised. As Alyssa laments: "You don't have to be a performer to have a complex relationship with your body".
The final guest was the 'glamdrogynous drag deity' Glitterfist. Glitterfist is magnificent on stage, in makeup based on Japanese Kabuki theatre. Too often used as a cliche is the term 'gender-bending', but it is apt in the case of Glitterfist. The powerful dance was inspiring and memorable.
ECFF provided much food for thought, and left my partner and I with many themes to discuss afterwards. If you appreciate intelligent, thought provoking theatre, make sure you get along to see this show.
ECFF plays at the Hare Hole, Hares & Hyenas, 63 Johnston Street, Fitzroy, at 7.00pm each night (except Monday 24th September) until Wednesday 26th September.
All tickets are $25. Click here to buy tickets online.
The running time is approximately 60 minutes (the show I saw ran for around 75 minutes). Contains nudity, coarse language and adult themes.
The images in this article were taken by the writer.